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Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; First edition (November 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199233209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199233205
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fascinating from start to finish, Weber's painstaking research and lively writing style are bound to make this a seminal work, one as informative as it is engaging." --The Canada Post

About the Author


Thomas Weber is Lecturer in Modern European, International, and Global Political History at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. His first book, The Lodz Ghetto Album, won the Infinity Award of the International Center of Photography and the Golden Light Award. His second book, Our Friend "The Enemy", won the Duc d'Arenberg History Prize.

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Customer Reviews

The book was a big disappointment.
Mr Roman
I would think there must be descriptions of other regimental dispatch runners, whose experience would give some insight into Hitler's.
Mark Rufo
Contrary to what people say about this book, Weber adds almost nothing to what was known before.
Tim Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rufo on December 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The title of this review is an English translation of a phrase that German children in the 1930's used endlessly. It ought to be the subtitle of Thomas Weber's book - which is long on war and short on Hitler.
First, what's good about the book. It gives what I assume to be an accurate history of the List Regiment in the First World War. (However, a map would have been useful, and I hope will be added to any future edition.) It also tells quite a bit about the fate of some veterans of this unit of the Bavarian Royal Army which fought on the Western Front for over four years.
Of course, the only reason you are likely to read about the List Regiment is because it was Hitler's unit, where he served as a regimental dispatch runner and was awarded the Iron Cross both First and Second Class. Unfortunately we know very little about the details of the future Fuhrer's WWI experience. Weber rather than expanding this knowledge actually diminishes it, as he distrusts almost all memoirs (including, of course, Mein Kampf).
I would think there must be descriptions of other regimental dispatch runners, whose experience would give some insight into Hitler's. And the Bavarian Army must have had regulations detailing the duties of its dispatch runners. But you will not find any such information in Weber's book.
Instead, Weber is one of those "idea" historians who is not primarily interested in facts at all, but only interested in what may or may not be facts as long as they support his idea.
Weber's idea is that Hitler's World War One experience was of very little importance to his career except as a propaganda tool. Now propaganda can be based on truth as easily as lies.
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Tim Smith on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a bad book on the important topic of hitler and the nazis. There have been people in recent years who have cashed in on the nazis by making far-out claims about them. Claims that don't even make any sense. The more crazy it is, the more media attention the book gets and the higher the books sales are. Contrary to what people say about this book, Weber adds almost nothing to what was known before. I heard the claims about Hitler's war record ten years ago in a BBC documentary called "the making of Adolf Hitler". Five years ago, there was another (better) book by John Frank Williams covering Hitler's war record. Weber can fool some people. But for people who don't treat footnotes as facts, the scam here is quickly exposed.

Here is one example as a starter: page 221. In the middle of discussing Hitler's hospital stay at the end of the war, Weber starts talking crazy. He tells the reader that Hitler was diagnosed in the hospital as a psychopath and given experimental hypno-treatment. The magic hypno-treatment gave Hitler a confident personality. The doctors forgot to undo the treatment when they released Hitler. Weber considers this nonsense to be a reasonable explanation of Hitler's change after the war. This kind of thing usually shows up in books on UFOs rather than books written by Oxford Professors. The sources weber gives in the notes are junk books on Hitler. To even buy into this nonsense it's clear that Weber doesn't understand anything about hypnosis.

Weber in the book does a real good job in tracking down nearly every story about Hitler from fellow soldiers in the war. But he doesn't do anything useful with the stories. The problem with the stories is that they tend to tell one of two stories depending on the politics of the teller.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. E. Bjorn on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was first drawn to this book by the extravagant claims advanced on its behalf by the popular press. According to a number of reviews, Weber had successfully proved that more or less everything about Hitler's military service was mere lies. (For example, The Guardian: "Adolf Hitler a war hero? Anything but, said first world war comrades"; Der Spiegel: "A Hero in His Own Mind: Hitler Biography Debunks Mythology of Wartime Service".) Now, as is usually the case, the actual book turns out to be rather more restrained in its tone than these sensationalist headlines would suggest, but they are on the right track: Weber has consciously set out to "debunk" as much as he can of the "myth" of the combat veteran and minor war hero Adolf Hitler, whose bravery and integrity have to date been upheld by such varying and critical biographers as Bullock, Fest, Maser, and Kershaw. (Or, most recently, Williams, also in a specialized monograph, "Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918" (Frank Cass, 2005).)

What makes this author draw such different conclusions? Briefly put, on the scholarly level there are two major differences between Weber's treatment and such a one as Williams's. First, Weber does have access to some new data which were not previously available, including official records from Hitler's regiment (Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16) and some private diaries and letters. Second, he opposes many previously used sources, foremost the memoirs and statements of Hitler's fellow veterans, which he considers untruthful and infused with Nazi propaganda. This is, therefore, a very "revisionist" account of Hitler's military career that breaks genuine new ground. As such, it is to be welcomed.
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